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A Good Investment?

Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School

Amy Brown

Select students and teachers worked the room at a fundraising event for a New York City public high school Amy Brown calls College Preparatory Academy. It was their job to convince wealthy attendants that College Prep, with its largely minority and disadvantaged student body and its unusually high rate of graduation and college acceptance, was a worthy investment. To this end, students and teachers tried to seem needy and deserving, hoping to make supporters feel generous, important, and not threatened. How much, Brown asks, does competition for financing in urban public schools depend on marketing and perpetuating poverty in order to thrive? And are the actors in this drama deliberately playing up stereotypes of race and class?

A Good Investment? offers a firsthand look behind the scenes of the philanthropic approach to funding public education—a process in which social change in education policy and practice is aligned with social entrepreneurship. The appearance of success, equity, or justice in education, Brown argues, might actually serve to maintain stark inequalities and inhibit democracy. Her book shows that models of corporate or philanthropic charity in education can in fact reinforce the race and class hierarchies that they purport to alleviate.

As their voices reveal, the teachers and students on the receiving end of such a system can be critically conscious and ambivalent participants in a school’s racialized marketing and image management. Timely and provocative, this nuanced work exposes the unintended consequences of an education marketplace where charity masquerades as justice.


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Good Little School, A

A Good Little School pays homage to Jefferson County Open School, a public school of choice with a thirty-year history of providing an alternative education for students in K-12. Chronicled in this book are the personal experiences and anecdotes of teachers, parents, and students within the school, and how their contributions make it unique. In so doing, these reflections demonstrate to others that there is more to education than conventional subject areas such as math and reading. Also examined are the ways in which the school preserves the core elements that support the students’ best personal, social, and intellectual interests. These self-reflective accounts create a learning environment with humanity at the center, giving students the skills necessary to lead compassionate lives.

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Growing Up Suburban

By Edward A. Wynne

This provocative volume argues that the total environment of the suburban youth—the school, the community, the family, and the workplace—is in need of drastic reform.

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Higher Education Financing in East and Southern Africa

This nine-country study of higher education financing in Africa includes three East African states (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), five countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa), and an Indian Ocean island state (Mauritius). Higher Education Financing in East and Southern Africa explores trends in financing policies, paying particular attention to the nature and extent of public sector funding of higher education, the growth of private financing (including both household financing and the growth of private higher education institutions) and the changing mix of financing instruments that these countries are developing in response to public sector financial constraints. This unique collection of African-country case studies draws attention to the remaining challenges around the financing of higher education in Africa, but also identifies good practices, lessons and common themes.

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Higher Education in Africa. Crises, Reforms and Transformation

Higher Education in Africa. Crises, Reforms and Transformation

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Higher Learning, Greater Good

The Private and Social Benefits of Higher Education

Walter W. McMahon

A college education has long been acknowledged as essential for both personal success and economic growth. But the measurable value of its nonmonetary benefits has until now been poorly understood. Walter W. McMahon, a leading education economist, carefully describes these benefits and suggests that higher education accrues significant social and private benefits. McMahon's research uncovers a major skill deficit in the United States and other OECD countries owing to technical change and globalization. Yet a college degree brings better job opportunities, higher earnings, and even improved health. Higher education also promotes democracy and sustainable growth and contributes to reduced crime and lower state welfare and prison costs. These social benefits are substantial in relation to the costs of a college education. Offering a human capital perspective on these and other higher education policy issues, McMahon suggests that poor understanding of the value of nonmarket benefits leads to private underinvestment. He offers policy options that can enable state and federal governments to increase investment in higher education.

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Homeroom Security

School Discipline in an Age of Fear

Aaron Kupchik

Police officers, armed security guards, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors are common features of the disturbing new landscape at many of today's high schools. You will also find new and harsher disciplinary practices: zero-tolerance policies, random searches with drug-sniffing dogs, and mandatory suspensions, expulsions, and arrests, despite the fact that school crime and violence have been decreasing nationally for the past two decades. While most educators, students, and parents accept these harsh policing and punishment strategies based on the assumption that they keep children safe, Aaron Kupchik argues that we need to think more carefully about how we protect and punish students.

In Homeroom Security, Kupchik shows that these policies lead schools to prioritize the rules instead of students, so that students’ real problems—often the very reasons for their misbehavior—get ignored. Based on years of impressive field research, Kupchik demonstrates that the policies we have zealously adopted in schools across the country are the opposite of the strategies that are known to successfully reduce student misbehavior and violence. As a result, contemporary school discipline is often unhelpful, and can be hurtful to students in ways likely to make schools more violent places. Furthermore, those students who are most at-risk of problems in schools and dropping out are the ones who are most affected by these counterproductive policies. Our schools and our students can and should be safe, and Homeroom Security offers real strategies for making them so.

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The Human Right to Language

Communication Access for Deaf Children

Lawrence M. Siegel

In 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Amy Rowley, a deaf six-year-old, was not entitled to have a sign language interpreter in her public school classroom. Lawrence M. Siegel wholeheartedly disagrees with this decision in his new book The Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children. Instead, he contends that the United States Constitution should protect every deaf and hard of hearing child’s right to communication and language as part of an individual’s right to liberty. Siegel argues that when a deaf or hard of hearing child sits alone in a crowded classroom and is unable to access the rich and varied communication around her, the child is denied any chance of success in life. In The Human Right to Language, Siegel proposes that the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution be enforced so that Amy Rowley and her peers can possess that which virtually every other American child takes for granted – the right to receive and express thought in school. He asserts that the common notion of a right to “speech” is too infrequently interpreted in the narrowest sense as the right to “speak” rather than the broader right to receive and transmit information in all ways. Siegel reveals that there are no judicial decisions or laws that recognize this missing right, and offers here a legal and constitutional strategy for change. His well-reasoned hypothesis and many examples of deaf children with inadequate communication access in school combine to make a compelling case for changing the status quo.

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I Fill This Small Space

The Writings of a Deaf Activist

Lawrence Newman, Edited by David Kars

Lawrence Newman became deaf at the age of five in 1930, and saw his father fight back tears knowing that his son would never hear again. The next time he saw his father cry was in 1978, when Newman received an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University, his alma mater. Newman was recognized for his achievements as a life-long advocate for deaf education, including receiving California’s Teacher of the Year award in 1968. Perhaps his greatest influence, however, stemmed from his many articles and columns that appeared in various publications, the best of which are featured in I Fill This Small Space: The Writings of a Deaf Activist. Editor David Kurs has organized Newman’s writings around his passions — deaf education, communication and language, miscellaneous columns and poems on Deaf life, and humorous insights on his activism. His articles excel both as seamless arguments supporting his positions and as windows on the historical conflicts that he fought: against the Least Restrictive Environment in favor of residential deaf schools; for sign language, Total Communication, and bilingual education; and as a deaf teacher addressing parents of deaf children. A gifted writer in all genres, Newman amuses with ease (“On Mini and Midi-Skirts”), and moves readers with his heartfelt verse (“Girl with a Whirligig”). Newman ranges wide in his ability, but he always maintains his focus on equal tights for deaf people, as he demonstrates in his title poem “I Fill This Small Space:” I fill this small space, this time Who is to say yours is better Than mine or mine yours

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ICT and Changing Mindsets in Education

The debate is no longer whether to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in education in Africa but how to do so, and how to ensure equitable access for teachers and learners, whether in urban or rural settings. This is a book about how Africans adopt and adapt ICT. It is also about how ICT shape African schools and classrooms. Why do we use ICT, or not? Do girls and boys use them in the same ways? How are teachers and students in primary and secondary schools in Africa using ICT in teaching and learning? How does the process transform relations among learners, educators and knowledge construction? This collection by 19 researchers from Africa, Europe, and North America, explores these questions from a pedagogical perspective and specific socio-cultural contexts. Many of the contributors draw on learning theory and survey data from 36 schools, 66000 students and 3000 teachers. The book is rich in empirical detail on the perceived importance and appropriation of ICT in the development of education in Africa. It critically examines the potential for creative use of ICT to question habits, change mindsets, and deepen practice. The contributions are in both English and French.

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